As inoculation programmes continue around the world, China is rolling out a vaccine passport in anticipation of international travel resuming. By Alison Fox
The country’s vaccine passport will show people’s vaccination status as well as any relevant test results, according to The Straits Times. The certificate will be available through a WeChat programme and can be both electronic or paper format.
“The pandemic is still with us, but the world economy needs to be restarted and people-to-people exchanges resumed with no more delays,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, according to the paper.
The vaccine passport will likely first be put to use between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao, the Global Times reported, eliminating the need to quarantine upon arrival.
But ultimately, the success of a vaccine passport is dependent on it being recognised by other nations and The Strait Times reported it wasn’t clear which other countries were in talks with Beijing to accept its certificate.
Currently, China allows foreign nationals with valid residence permits and visas to enter, requiring they complete both a PCR and antibody test before their flight and quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival, according to the US Embassy & Consulates in China.
China is the latest country to explore the concept of vaccine passports as a means to jumpstart a stymied international travel industry. Several countries, like Iceland and Denmark, will issue such certificates to their citizens while others, including the Seychelles and Georgia, have opened their borders to fully-vaccinated tourists.
Closer to home, several states, like New York and Vermont, have waived quarantine and testing requirements for vaccinated visitors. Still other destinations are exploring the concept for the future, including the Thai island of Phuket and the United Kingdom.
Beyond individual countries, several airlines have signed up to trial the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) travel pass, which could eventually turn into a globally-recognised vaccine passport. Early users including Etihad Airways, Emirates, Air New Zealand, and Qantas.
IATA also recently confirmed that Singapore Airlines is using its travel pass.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel+Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.